Monday, August 22, 2016

How My Covers Came To Be

Oh, I could tell you stories.

I will, too,

The first novel of mine ever to see print was a novel called HOUSE OF SECRETS. It was co-written with another author and we worked on  HARD deadline. It was a work for hire, and we were supposed to have a card made for the card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle based on the cover and the story. We worked hard, we gave what I thought was a pretty darned decent story that involved as many actions and characters from the card game as we could reasonably fit, and we delivered on time.

And then they gave us, hands down, the worst piece of shit cover I had ever seen.

It had NOTHING to do with the book and made for such a lousy card that they decided not to include it in the card game.

The second time around I was working on a different work for hire book for the same company, this one had been licensed out to Random House, I believe. Once again, there would be a card for the gamer and I was ecstatic. They asked for notes. I gave them EXACTLY what i wanted on the cover. I gave full descriptions of the characters and how  they were dressed, how to place them in the picture, what the background should be. A climactic scene from the novel that involved two gunslingers, one horribly scarred, one who looked like a corpse, a glass building next to them in which, if the artist was feeling adventurous, he might show the tornado that was coming for them reflected in the glass.

This one was called Werewolf: Hellstorm. I had a blast writing it.

And then I saw the cover.

NOTHING. Not a damned bit of the information I provided, was included. Not one iota.

What I got instead was a hot mess that did everything it could to rip off Mike Mignola, a far better artist. The artist in question who worked on the cove actually told me the cover was too ambitious for him.

And from there, the list goes on. I've had a LOT of covers over the years. Some I loved, some I hated. The latest ones? The ones I have loved the most? They all have to following in common: A smart art director, a fabulous artist and the ability to actually portray characters from the books as they are described. 

The artist in question is Alejandro Colucci. He is amazing. 

These are the covers he did for me. 

In every case, he was given a few paragraphs of description about the character in question, usually pulled directly from the manuscript, and suggestions were offered as to what sort of background would be best. 

And then...magic.

Not surprisingly, the sales of the latest four books have been substantially better than those first two. I blame the covers.

Well, and maybe the writing got better too, but I can't really judge that. 

Okay, back to work on the edits for TIDES OF WAR: Book one, THE LAST SACRIFICE.

That, too, is a book of mine coming out from Angry Robot Books.  They gave me those gorgeous covers. We've discussed the new series and what the covers should look like. I personally can;t wait to see them.


  1. I've mad love for your Seven Forges covers. Colucci did an amazing job not only in the quality of work, but in capturing the character as you described them in book so very well.

    1. he is amazingly talented, and I am truly lucky.

  2. I can't wait to see what the next covers look like. Waiting to see which character will be brought to colorful life is so fun! Especially because the covers keep getting better and better!!